Giro d'Italia: Kelderman in pink as Almeida endures Stelvio nightmare

By Sports Desk October 22, 2020

Wilco Kelderman seized the maglia rosa from Joao Almeida after a memorable 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia was won by Jai Hindley to blow the race wide open.

The 207-kilometre route from Pinzolo to Laghi di Cancano provided drama aplenty, ending with a new race leader and a stage win for Hindley, who sits second in the General Classification, 12 seconds back from fellow Team Sunweb rider Kelderman.

The daunting Passo dello Stelvio was where the cracks showed for Almeida, the 25km climb to an altitude of 2,758 metres all but ending his hopes of glory as his 17-second advantage gave way to a deficit of over two minutes.

Almeida had described the slog up to the Giro's highest point as "great" before Thursday's stage, but he may take a different view after he was dropped with just under 50km to go, losing the virtual lead to Kelderman.

But the Dutchman was facing a battle to keep up with a leading group featuring Tao Geoghegan Hart, himself now firmly in the shake-up at 15 seconds off the GC leader.

The INEOS Grenadiers rider was joined at the front by Hindley and team-mate Rohan Dennis, who was in eye-catching form as he ascended the Cima Coppi.

It was a blistering pace that put paid to any chance Vincenzo Nibali had of triumphing as the veteran fell out of contention, even before the 21 hairpins heading towards the finish line at Laghi di Cancano.

With Dennis' race run, Geoghegan Hart and Hindley contested the sprint on an uphill finish and it was the Australian who crossed the line first to earn a time bonus that put him ahead of his British rival in riveting race now led by Kelderman.

STAGE RESULT

1. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) 06:03:03
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:00
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:46
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) +01:25
5. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +02:18

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification  
1. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) 77:46:56
2. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +00:12
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:15

Points Classification  
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 94

King of the Mountains  
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 234
2. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 122
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) 115

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 19 largely spares the riders any further punishment on the climbing front, but they must still cover 258km from Morbegno to Asti. With a flat final 5km, this is one for the sprinters.

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  • Giro d'Italia: Sagan sprints to second career stage win Giro d'Italia: Sagan sprints to second career stage win

    Peter Sagan claimed only his second Giro d'Italia stage win as he sprinted to victory in Foligno on Monday.

    Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe team worked superbly throughout a predominantly flat stage 10 from L'Aquila to Foligno to set Sagan up to triumph.

    A seven-time winner of the points classification on the Tour de France, Sagan made sure their efforts did not go to waste.

    He got the better of Fernando Gaviria in a bunch sprint, having won his first Giro stage in an individual effort last year.

    Sagan now has 18 Grand Tour stage wins to his name, putting him in a three-way tie with Rudi Altig and Nino Defilippis for 21st on the all-time list among those with at least one triumph at each event.

    It looked as if Gaviria may be in prime position to claim the stage as UAE Team Emirates led out the sprint with 500 metres to go.

    But it was Sagan who had more left in his legs at the finish and said afterwards: "I have to say thanks to all my team-mates, they did an impressive job. I'm very happy to win a stage like this, it was a great job from all the team."

    Egan Bernal stays in the maglia rosa going into the first rest day of this year's Giro, which will resume on Wednesday with a 162km ride from Perugia to Montalcino back on gravel roads.
     

    STAGE RESULT  

    1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 3:10:56
    2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) same time
    3. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) "
    4. Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal) "
    5. Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix) "

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 38:30:17
    2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0.14
    3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0.22

    Points Classification

    1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 108
    2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 91
    3. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) 91

    King of the Mountains
     
    1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 51
    2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 48
    3. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 44

  • Bernal climbs into Giro lead after long-awaited stage win Bernal climbs into Giro lead after long-awaited stage win

    Egan Bernal produced a storming finish to win stage nine of the Giro d'Italia – a result good enough to see the Colombian take over as the new race leader.

    Bernal claimed a long-overdue maiden Grand Tour stage triumph following a gruelling 157-kilometre ride from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice that concluded with an uphill finish on a gravel track.

    Geoffrey Bouchard and Koen Bouwman were involved in a breakaway group but were unable to remain clear, the duo overtaken within 500 metres of the line.

    A determined Bernal pushed hard to claim potentially crucial time in the battle for the maglia rosa, finishing seven seconds clear of Giulio Ciccone and Alexandr Vlasov, who were second and third respectively.

    The 2019 Tour de France winner now has a 15-second cushion over nearest rival Remco Evenepoel in the overall standings.

    "I cannot believe what just happened, I just won my first stage in a Grand Tour," Bernal said in his post-race interview.

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    Attila Valter had held the pink jersey heading into the stage, yet he found the going tough on the final climb and finished almost a minute behind the stage winner.

    Meanwhile, Matej Mohoric was taken to hospital following a dramatic crash during proceedings. Team Bahrain Victorious confirmed the Slovenian would undergo tests and was to be kept under observation, as per the UCI's concussion protocol.

    Mohoric somersaulted over his handlebars after coming off during a descent, with his bike splitting apart after making contact with a crash barrier.


    STAGE RESULT  

    1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 4:08:23
    2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +07secs
    3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) "
    4. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +10s
    5. Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) "

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 35:19:22
    2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0.15
    3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0.21

    Points Classification

    1. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) 83
    2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 76
    3. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) 69

    King of the Mountains
     
    1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 51
    2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 48
    3. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 44

  • Lafay sprints to Giro stage win as Ewan abandons race Lafay sprints to Giro stage win as Ewan abandons race

    Victor Lafay landed his first grand tour major success by winning stage eight in style for Cofidis at the Giro d'Italia.

    The 25-year-old French rider made a solo dart to the finish line with just under three kilometres remaining, crossing 36 seconds ahead of Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), who edged out Nikias Arndt (Team DSM).

    Saturday's ride from Foggia to Guardia Sanframondi saw no major disruption in the general classification picture, with Attila Valter remaining in the pink jersey, still 11 seconds ahead of Remco Evenepoel.

    The overall leaders finished in the peloton, four minutes and 48 seconds behind Lafay, meaning the Giro remains nicely poised heading into Sunday's stage, which takes the riders from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice.

    Notably, however, Caleb Ewan abandoned the race, with the Australian sprinter having achieved his targets for the Giro, winning two stages in the first week. He hopes to also win stages at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana and had not been expected to complete the Giro, with his team, Lotto Soudal, reporting Ewan quit due to "pain in his knee".

    Lafay said of his first major win as a professional: "It's incredible. It was a very tough day.

    "To take the breakaway was very difficult, but when it's gone the peloton left us seven minutes, so it was good, we could recover a little.

    "The finish was hard, but it's about 10 minutes' effort and that's where I'm the best so I was focused all the day for the support and I'm really happy I did that."

    Speaking on Eurosport, Lafay said he felt Portuguese rider Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) was the big threat from the riders who had pulled clear of the peloton.

    "I knew they were not climbing well but Oliveira I think was the best one, so I kept an eye on him, but I was confident with my legs and I attacked with 3k to go, and I don't believe it now that I just won."

    STAGE RESULT  

    1. Victor Lafay (Cofidis) 4:06:47
    2. Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa) +36 secs
    3. Nikias Arndt (Team DSM) +37s
    4. Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) +41s
    5. Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) +44s

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) 31:10:53
    2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0.11
    3. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +0.16

    Points Classification

    1. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) 83
    2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 76
    3. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) 69

    King of the Mountains

    1. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 26
    2. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 18
    3. Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal) 18

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